SEATTLE — Edgar Martinez toiled for six years in the minor leagues before finally making it to the majors full time in 1989.
What’s one more year of waiting for the Hall of Fame?
The former Seattle Mariners designated hitter and third baseman fell short in his bid for the baseball Hall, finishing with 70.4 percent of the vote in his ninth year on the ballot. Players need 75 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to make it to Cooperstown.
It was the second straight year with a significant jump in Martinez’s attempt to become the first player who was primarily a designated hitter during his career to reach Cooperstown. But it was a crushing loss for fans who became optimistic after seeing him make significant gains in ballot tracking prior to the official announcement Wednesday.
“Thank you to all the fans out there that supported my (Hall of Fame) candidacy,” Martinez tweeted shortly after the announcement. “We are trending up, next year may be the year. Thank you Mariners and the best fans in baseball.”
Just four years ago, Martinez was slogging at 25.2 percent in the balloting, but the last few years have signaled a major change in how voters are viewing his contributions even though he rarely played the field after 1992. Martinez’s career .312 batting average, .933 on-base plus slugging and seven All-Star Game appearances created a strong foundation for his candidacy. Testaments from former opponents and teammates who have been inducted into the Hall, along with additional statistical analysis, have bolstered his chances.
Martinez was at 58.6 percent last year, and while he didn’t reach the needed 75 percent, he did crack an important threshold by reaching 70 percent in his ninth year of eligibility. Every player who has reached the 70 percent plateau at some point in the voting process has been inducted.